The Lebanese diaspora is massive. We are talking of generations of Lebanese living in all corners of the world.
On another note, the Lebanese are very proud people, of their homeland but especially of their terroir and culinary landscape. I tend to wonder, what is the becoming of traditional Lebanese recipes, prepared say, in Mexico by a Lebanese millennial?
Exploring Tahini on Tahini week (check my insta), I prepared a version of "Samkeh Harra" (Spicy Fish) for the first time.
My mom never made it, nor did tahini ever make it to the house.
Browsing for recipes online and getting advice from friends and followers, I re-interpreted it, only altering the chili quantity for blood type compliance.
Inspired by the fresh catch at the fishmonger, instead of using seabass - the fish commonly used in Samkeh Harra - I used a beautiful deboned fillet of monkfish.
Also, some samphire, as a support but a nice sweet counterbalance to the smokey hot sauce.
In fact, Harra sauce could easily be used with other proteins and some vegetables.
Laborious but worth every bite
Make in 45 minutes
Preheat your oven to 180º C / 350º F.
MAKE THE HARRA SAUCE
- Place the green bell pepper on a baking tray lined with a sheet of foil, and in the oven for 20 minutes. When it is charred on all sides, peel and discard the burnt skin. Slice the flesh in long strips and reserve.
- In a mortar, pound together the toasted pine nuts, coriander, garlic with a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt to form a very smooth coriander type pesto.
- In a pan over low heat, drizzle some olive oil and caramelise one onion.
- In a large pan over medium heat, sweat the 2 remaning onion with some extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt until it starts to caramelize. Lower the heat, add the tomato, mix well to coat it in the onion and cook until it is very soft.
- Add the coriander pesto, mix well and the tahini, a spoonful at a time, according to taste.
- When the sauce is ready, transfer it to a food processor and pulse until very smooth.
- Place a sieve over a large pot, and sieve the harra sauce for extra-smooth consistency. You won’t regret it!
FOR THE MONKFISH
- In the basket of a steamer, arrange the samphire as a little bed and place the monkfish fillets on top.
- Cover and steam for about 12-15 minutes, until cooked through.
- To plate, simply transfer the samphire and the monkfish on a plate with a flat spatula.
- Cover with the sauce, top with some caramelised onions and lemon zest and enjoy hot!
- 2 Monkfish fillets, deboned, 3oz / 85g each
- 2 medium heirloom tomatoes, peeled and deseeded and chopped
- 2 green bell peppers, sliced in half and deseeded
- 3 onions, peeled and finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 cups of freshly picked coriander
- 2 cups of pine nuts, toasted
- 3-4 tbsps of tahini, to taste
- A handful of samphire
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt